Monday, March 28, 2011

Self Defense at Sea

Somali Pirates
After this post, my friend Dennis brought up the very valid issue of what to do about seaborne marauders in fast boats. Those Somali pirates travel hundreds of miles out to sea to capture large commercial traffic, and do a pretty good job at it, so being way offshore is not enough to be safe.

It's going to be a real problem if the US or the whole world are in survival/mad max mode, and bad guys like that might well be where I am.

 My solution was and is to be a "hard" target, meaning be harder and more costly to plunder than others. There are tactical issues to work out with that plan (how to communicate and demonstrate "hardness" to the bad guys, communications in general, avoiding a fight, on and on).

So I went down to my local gun shop here in Santa Fe to talk to people who spend time thinking about how to shoot bad guys, and told them I wanted weapons that would allow me to engage, destroy, disable or at least discourage, fast moving targets, at the greatest possible range, at sea. They put me on to the .50 caliber Browning Machine Gun round or .50 BMG.

An embarrassment of riches
This is a massively capable munition, with an effective range in excess of a mile, and successful shots have been made out to 1.5 miles. You can kill a motor vehicle with this round with one shot, by shooting the motor.

But that's just the beginning of the mayhem and destructive capabilities. There are all kinds of rounds available: tracer, armor piercing, incendiary, armor piercing incendiary, sabots, and armor piercing explosive incendiary. An embarrassment of riches.

With this round and the right weapon to shoot it, I could easily sink an attacking vessel at more than a mile away, and also permanently disable their engine, not to mention light it on fire with an incendiary round or two. Leaving the bad guys too busy trying to put out the fire, keep from sinking, and wishing they had a spare engine to devote much energy to taking my stuff.

I handled a 33 pound, bolt action rifle at the gun shop today that shoots this round. It's was $3300 retail, $100/pound, a bargain in my opinion. Needs good optics so add more to the bill. It's a massive thing, but we could pack two of them on the Fisher motorsailor easily, and deploy one forward and one aft. That would leave one unmasked at all times, both unmasked most of the time, and I bet with some luck we could hold off or destroy three fast boats at once. Regardless, I do think we would be a harder target than most with this kind of firepower and effective range, and not worth attacking once it was understood by the attackers what their cost would be.

There are lots of .50 caliber rifles out there, like these:

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